Made in America

Writing Prompt: Valentine’s Day

For some people, Valentine’s day is a day to celebrate the love they have for their partner. It’s a day they look forward to, a day filled with candy hearts, assorted chocolates, flowers, jewelry, and mushy declarations of love. It’s a day of extravagant dinners or a romantic camping trip or even a trip across the country. For others, it’s simply a day where the colors pink and red are shoved in their faces while mushy gushy couples surround them horror-movie-style. Between the two types of people, which one is your character most like?

Dorrance Publishing Writing Prompt Valentine's Day 1

How people choose to celebrate (or protest, quite frankly) Valentine’s Day can say a lot about them as a character. Perhaps your character is in a long-term relationship, but still refuses to celebrate the holiday remembering all the years that they hated it when they were single. Then maybe their partner chooses to celebrate it anyway, despite their wishes to the contrary. How would your character react?

On the other hand, perhaps it’s a day they look forward to all year and have extremely high expectations for. Will their partner live up to their Valentine’s Day expectations? If they fall short, will it cause some tension with the couple? Is their partner being lazy or are their expectations too unreasonably high?

Then you have the people who are single on Valentine’s Day. Does the holiday make them sad or bitter, causing them to become irritable toward others for the duration of the day? Do they try to make the most of it, inviting some friends over to give themselves a little less traditional celebration? Or perhaps they even focus on self-love for the day, treating themselves to some chocolates, flowers, and maybe even a relaxing bubble bath?

Dorrance Publishing Writing Prompt Valentine's Day 2

The world (especially when it’s fiction) has a way of surprising people or changing their minds as well. A character could wake up bitter on a day they hate and then a chance encounter could completely change their entire attitude. For example, perhaps your character wakes up Valentine’s morning feeling bitter and annoyed at the romanticism surrounding them. They head to their local coffee shop where they have a ‘meet-cute’ with someone to whom they’re attracted. They end up getting their number and agreeing to meet up later that week for dinner. Suddenly, what started out as one of their least favorite days has turned out kind of romantic for them. Will their new positive attitude hold up for the rest of the day? Or will the romantic bombardment be too much for them to stay chipper?

Writing Prompt: Take a character from your novel or a character you’ve recently created. Choose any year of their life and write about how they chose to celebrate Valentine’s Day that year. Show the reader how they feel about the holiday and their attitude for the day using the actions and plans they choose to make, dialogue, and mannerisms.

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